Preparing for Royal Wedding street parties in Yorkshire
PUBLISHED: 01:16 26 April 2011 | UPDATED: 19:15 20 February 2013
Community leaders are making preparations for a street get-together to be remembered <br/>Photographs by Joan Russell
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It was a committee meeting with a difference. Items on the agenda included cup cakes, sandwiches, paper cups, bunting and face painting, all the ingredients for a party to which everyone in Filey is invited.
The fuss of course is to celebrate the marriage between Prince William and his long time girlfriend Kate Middleton but it is only half the reason to bring out the paper plates and the bunting.
Its a very good way of bringing people together, something we should be doing much more often, said Matthew Joseph, the chair of todays meeting to put the finishing touches to Fileys royal wedding party which will be in the gardens of the Evron Centre, overlooking the bay.
He is also Scarborough Councils community development officer and the man who launched training sessions for would-be royal street party organisers. Residents and community groups were offered free advice on how to celebrate the royal wedding taking place at the end of this month.
Food and drink, said Matthew, are a great way of helping people to relax and getting everyone talking to each other. And sharing food and drink is the perfect way to celebrate this particular occasion.
More than 3,000 invitations will be hand delivered throughout Filey but everyone, young and old, is welcome, said Matthew. We hope as many people as possible will come to the party, we want everyone in Filey to come. People should bring food and drink for themselves and food to share.
We will have a giant television screen in the Evron Centre for everyone to watch the wedding during the morning with tea and coffee served. The party will begin outside in the gardens during the afternoon. All kinds of entertainment are planned including live music and competitions for children.
Community leaders and members of residents associations attended Matthews first training session in February when he tackled practical issues such as insurance and road closures and how to get the party going with plenty of bunting, local musicians and performers.
I dont know how many people have gone on to organise their own parties but there was enthusiasm at the training session and I have heard of a few who are organising their parties in villages and their own neighbourhoods.
The history of street parties shows they do bring people together not only to celebrate events such as a royal wedding but to help renew community spirit and contact.
They started as Peace Teas held after the First World War, added Matthew. They were a special treat for children in those times of hardship. They were a way of helping people get back to normal.
Today people live very busy lives and often dont have time to get involved in their street or neighbourhood. What we want to do is get people back together again, get neighbours talking to each other.
Not everyone has welcomed the idea of the training sessions for street party organisers, said Matthew. Some think it is a waste of money in these difficult economic times. But it is at times like these when neighbours can help each other and work together and we are here to help.
He said there were ways of keeping costs down by asking people to help for example asking local school or childrens groups to make bunting as well as talking to local organisations about the loan of tables and chairs. And party goers should bring along not only their own party food but food to share.